The spectacle is not a collection of images, but a social relation among people, mediated by images.
– Guy Duborg
Have you seen The Best of Enemies? It’s a documentary about the famous 1968 debates between William F. Buckley, Jr. and Gore Vidal. The whole thing culminates in a moment where — after heated exchange — Buckley, taking Vidal’s bait, explodes,
Now listen, you queer, you stop calling me a crypto-Nazi or I’ll sock you in … And when you root for the soldiers of your own country to be brutally killed, you … I’ll sock you in the goddam face and you’ll stay plastered.
And there it was. The dandies of the left and right reduced to ad hominem, almost coming to blows. Nielsen loved it. And politics as prime-time blood sport became an American pastime.